Written and submitted by Charmed.
It was so EAR-ritating!
Sitting by the window and accompanied by faint lo-fi beats in the background, I can’t help but touch both my ears to feel how different they are now. The right one is so soft and rather flexible that I can fold it (well, like how elephants can flap their big ears effortlessly) but the left one… the troubled one!
*it all started with a tiny swell that I didn’t pay heed to*
Mom, can you please take a look at my ear? Please squeeze that damn pimple out for me. It is hurting like a b***h.
There is nothing to squeeze. It just seems like a lump of fluid.
Oh, is it? Nevermind la then! Maybe it is just a pimple swell that has yet to develop and it will go away eventually.
I enjoyed that evening thoroughly with my parents before catching a flight back to Singapore, slaving for the x3 currency. Overnight, the lump got bigger and it was getting hotter (it was so squishy – quite nice to play with actually). I had no choice other than go to the doctor to get it checked BUT not until couple of days later simply because most of the panel clinics under my company close after 6pm, which is the time I get off work! (isn’t it wonderful residing in KL – we have 24 hours clinics here!)
*I was referred to A&E IMMEDIATELY as the swelling had gotten too serious*
While seated in there, I was surrounded by hundreds of doctors (okay, I lied but there were a few of them); standing in circle discussing about my condition as if I were not there. It might as well be because I was absolutely dazed and confused with all the jargons they were throwing at each other; pseudocyst, aspiration, deformity etc etc… I felt like some sort of wild pokemon and these pokemon trainers were trying to figure out what super power I had. I wished I was Charizard and I could use my Flamethrower attack so they will all stop and speak in human language what on earth is this.
One of them finally spoke to me and all I gathered from the conversation was MY EAR MIGHT BE DEFORMED. I teared non-stop as soon as I heard that line!
Doctor: We suspect you have a pseudocyst and will need to do an aspiration. The fluid will be sent to the lab and see if there is any bacteria.
Me: Okay, so what caused the swelling?
Doctor: We don’t know. There are so many possibilities but mostly it is common if you are into sports like wrestling, kickboxing. We also call this as cauliflower ear.
Me: So, what now? How do we fix this?
Doctor: We will do an aspiration which means putting a needle to drain the fluid and compress the ear for few days and see if the swell comes back. If it does, we will need to perform a surgery which might cause deformation to the ear. But, you can think about the surgery – we will see you next week.
*was walking around with a huge weird clip on my ear and was asked if it was some sort of accessory for Wi-Fi reception. Urgghh… seriously?!*
A week passed and I started to feel itch on my ear and I saw it starting to turn blue. Returned to the doctor and was told, I needed a surgery but can only performed that in 2 weeks’ time due to availability of anesthesiologist, operating theater etc etc etc… So, I decided to fly home that very weekend to get a second opinion.
Again, I was perplexed hearing what the ENT specialist had to say.
I am afraid you are now suffering necrosis (wow, isn’t that interesting?) and an immediate surgery is required. We will have it done in 2 days’ time. (2 weeks vs 2 days… wow, just wow!). We will have to do general anesthetic and you are also at the risk of having a deformed ear. But, we can’t be sure until the surgery is done.
What choice do I have? Necrosis, was such a terrifying word. With tears in my eyes and trembling hands, I signed pages and pages of documents; acknowledging and giving consent that I thoroughly understood the surgery procedures and risks. It was a torturous 60 hours while counting down to my surgery!
I took gazillion amount of pictures with my swollen ear showing and uploaded them to Instagram with the caption “Lets take more picture while I still have my left ear!”
I cried buckets and told a rather close friend at that time to take care of my parents if I didn’t survive the surgery.
I went to one of my favourite restaurants and ate as if it was the last time I am going to eat there.
I told someone ‘I love you and I am so blessed to have shared a journey with you’.
Nah, my ear is not deformed. But, it has thicker cartilage making it less flexible than it was originally. Honestly, to date, none of the doctors can give me a definite answer as to how this happened. But, one thing for sure, I have learnt and experienced a few things from this little drama, especially what it feels like to be anesthetized!